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Returning From Rwanda with Cathy Kelly

Monday, 8 October 2007


Fresh form her journey through Rwanda, Author and Unicef Ambassador Cathy Kelly is here to speak about the work of Unicef, she is joined by Melanie Verwoerd Executive Director From Unicef.

Cathy Kelly will tell us all about her adventures in Rwanda and will give tips and advice on how you can help. Cathy visited the following schools
1 - Busasamana and Umubano Irish Funded schools - Most recently built
2 - Rubingo School - deals more with the issue of girl's education.
3 - Nemba Catch-up Centre - Children  9 - 16 years old - orphans or street kids
4 - Munauira - very run down school in need of our money!!!

About Rwanda 2007
Rwanda has come a long way since 1994. During the genocide that saw at least 937,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus representing 10 per cent of the population killed in the 100-day genocide, according to Rwandan Government figures. 
The violence of 1994 cast a long shadow on this land.

Rwanda today is home to over one million orphaned children.
AIDS has taken a grim and steady toll on the population 57 per cent of the population still live on less than one dollar a day. Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa, making natural resources scarce; more than half of the nation's population is comprised of children (over four million children)
They're the ones who can change this country,' explains Charles Nabongo, UNICEF's Head of Education  'Thirteen years on from the genocide, it's against the law to discuss whether a person is Hutu or Tutsi. 'Malnutrition affects 45 per cent of the children. During the trip, Cathy commented that she would often see a child and guess their age, only to be told they're two or three years older than she thought.

UNICEF works in over 150 of the world's poorest countries, supporting programmes aimed at saving and improving children's lives. In Rwanda, UNICEF is working on building "child friendly schools"
The child-friendly school is UNICEF's approach to promoting quality education for all children - especially among the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations - both in everyday circumstances and in emergencies. Child-friendly educators focus on the needs of the 'whole' child (which include his or her health, nutrition and overall well-being) and care about what happens to children in their families and communities before they enter school and after they leave.

Funding Cathy visited Busasamana and Umubano Primary Schools in Rwanda, which is one of the most recently built child friendly schools and met and spoke with pupils and teachers at the schools. At the Rubingo Primary School, which Cathy Kelly visited, they have attempted to address the issue of participation of girls who tend to drop out of school much faster than boys.  The main barrier initially was the fact that the school water and sanitation system provided little privacy for girls - with separate latrines not provided for boys and girls.  With UNICEF's support, nine dilapidated latrines have now been replaced with 2 latrine blocks of 45 toilets.

Cathy joined in the singing with the pupils at the Nemba catch-up Centre in Rwanda - the children were singing to welcome her and the UNICEF Ireland visitors.  This UNICEF supported-centre provides a basic education for children aged between 9-16 , who have either dropped out or never attended school.   Many of the children attending the centre are orphans, unaccompanied children or children living in child headed households as well as working and street children.
Cathy also visited the primary school in Munanira, Rwanda.  With holes in the roof, a broken concrete floor, no running water, very few desks and chairs and no safe area for the children to play and exercise outside, the school is in urgent need of rehabilitation. Children lack classrooms or sit on the floor without adequate furniture.  The school also lacks water and sanitation facilities.  The schools have over 1,000 children enrolled and a pupil classroom ration of 70 to 1.  The school is in urgent need of approximately 7 news additional classrooms and a rehabilitation of all existing classrooms.
Cathy said following her visit that there's a lot of hope for the future of Rwanda and children are the hope.

How you can help
The best thing that anyone can do to help the people of Rwanda is to organise some fundraising events. Here are some of the most popular suggestions for fundraising events,

. Table Quiz: Get your thinking caps on! Hold a Quiz Night at your sports club, business or college
. Winter Feast: Whatever the season - get your friends together and have a special dinner party with every guest making a donation to UNICEF Ireland!
. Dress Down Friday: Leave your business suit at home and have a Dress Down Friday in your office: with everyone who participates making a donation to UNICEF Ireland!
. Wine Tasting: Host a wine-tasting session in your boardroom or college - Cheers!
. Hair today: Lots of money has been raised for UNICEF Ireland with people shaving off their hair or beards and getting their friends, family and work colleagues to sponsor them!
. Coffee Mornings:  What better excuse to get together for a coffee and a catch up

For more information
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